by Delfina Mugabe
(IPS) MAPUTO --
of 11 children die every hour in
Mozambique as a result of the extreme poverty in which hundreds of thousands
of Mozambican families live.
More than 62 percent of Mozambique's 15 million population is poor.
The National Health Service covers only 15 percent of the population. There are no hospitals in the rural areas, and where any exist people have to walk long distances, without any transportation or even ambulances.
The sick are transported in human or animal drawn carts, and often, when they get to the health centre, they end up dying for lack of medical attention.
"Thus, fighting poverty, increasing the people's access to health and education, and having community committed to health promotion and improvement, is the only way that this Southern African country will reduce its mortality rate," said Dr Lilia Jamisse of the Mozambican Ministry of Health.
Dr Jamise made the remark at a conference funded by UNICEF and the Reference Center for Children's Rights on "Infant Mortality: Why do 11 children die every hour in Mozambique?" held last month in Maputo.
Dr Jamisse, who is the Head of the Division of Family Health at the Department of Community Health in the Ministry of Health, attributes the high maternal and infant mortality rates in Mozambique to poverty, disease and lack of education.
She singled out sepsis puerperal, post-birth hemorrhaging, extended labor, uterine ruptures and abortion-related complications and eclampsia as the main causes of the maternal mortality.
The main causes of infant mortality are, however, acute respiratory infections, malaria, diarrhea-related diseases, measles, neonatal tetanus, syphilis and HIV. HIV/AIDS is responsible for between 15 and 23 percent of all infant mortality in Mozambique.
"The ministry of heath has noted significant progress in the development of the main components of maternal and infant care. From 1990 to 1996 medical coverage improved from 55 to 72 percent in prenatal care, from 13 percent to 30 percent in postnatal care, and from 2 to 5 percent in family planning," said Dr Jamisse.
She added that, during the same period, medical coverage of children from zero to one year increased from 61 to 96 percent, and that of the under- four-year group rose from 29 to 34 percent.
December 9, 1999 (http://www.monitor.net/monitor) All Rights Reserved. Contact email@example.com for permission to use in any format.
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